Barcelona 'demand' respect for wishes of the Catalan people amid referendum tensions
Barcelona have demanded that the wishes of the Catalan people be respected amid growing tension in Spain following Catalonia's independence referendum.
Voting took place on October 1 and resulted in clashes between protesters and riot police in the region, with Spain's national government adamant that the referendum was unconstitutional and illegal.
A total of 91.09 per cent of the turnout voted in favour of Catalan independence, but the European Commission has since come out in support of the Spanish national government, confirming the illegality of the vote.
Barcelona chose to play Sunday's LaLiga match against Las Palmas behind closed doors as a show of solidarity with the Catalan people, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu slamming the actions of the Spanish authorities as "a lack of freedom of expression".
Bartomeu spoke out again on Thursday, issuing another statement on behalf of the club.
Dialogue, respect and sport pic.twitter.com/jTolVSAsSk-- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 5, 2017
Speaking in a video on the club's official website, he called for "dialogue" and for "the wish of the majority of the Catalan people to decide on their future".
"These last few days, Catalonia has been going through one of the most transcendental periods in its recent history," he said.
"FC Barcelona, as one of the leading institutions in the country, demands a process of dialogue and negotiations to find political solutions to the situation happening in Catalonia, and for this to be done with the utmost respect for the wish of the majority of Catalan people to decide on their future.
"We are more than a club and it is precisely because of that that we feel that it is our duty to stand by our people, under such difficult circumstances as those that are being experienced right now.
"We are therefore officially supporting the Comissio Independent per a la Mediacio, el Dialeg i la Conciliacio [Independent Commission for Mediation, Dialogue and Conciliation] promoted by the Il-lustre Col-legi d'Advocats de Barcelona (Barcelona Bar Association).
"People understand each other through dialogue.
"FC Barcelona demands respect. As an institution that is so committed to the values of dialogue and peaceful coexistence, the club feels that all public manifestations need to contribute to building the bridges for dialogue that are necessary in this context while respecting the freedom of expression of the Catalan people.
"In order to overcome this crisis, it is indispensable for all of us to come together and to use our social functions to act responsibly. In our case, we shall defend the demand for such institutional dialogue wherever it might be needed, while in a sporting sense, we shall continue to compete in our different disciplines.
"We will aspire, as ever, to win every title.
"This shall be our way of showing the world the reality of what is happening in Catalonia and reasserting our commitment to our society and to freedom, the same commitment to which Barca has always been loyal throughout its 118 years of history.
"Visca Barca. Visca Catalunya."